Constant Follower Announces Debut LP ‘Neither is, nor ever was’
Shares ‘The Merry Dancers On TV’ Video LP Out Oct 1 via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise RecordingsListen to the single on Spotify here
“The neo-folk music of Stephen McAll and his band, Constant Follower, is intimate, unvarnished. Its raw inner beauty casts a deeply affecting spell. McAll’s husky murmur and the sensitive accompaniment is a rare source of comfort, like gently flickering log fire embers on the darkest night of the year. McAll and co have composed the perfect huddling soundtrack. It’s swaddled in sadness, but always offers hope.”– The Scotsman, 2021
“A beautiful piece of songwriting, with its simple poignancy carrying with it the wisdom only experience can offer.”– Clash Magazine,2020
“More brilliant new music from Scotland. From Stirling, it’s the sublime Constant Follower.”
– Nicola Meighan, BBC Radio Scotland, 2021
“Making art together is something that transcends any distance and that was definitely confirmed over the period of making this film. Being able to work with a local band while being trusted with such a stunning song made any physical distance feel obsolete.Constant Follower’s choice to work with new and emerging artists for their videos meant that I, as an artist, was able to create something unlike anything I’ve had the ability to before. This is my second foray into stop motion and I have learned so much from this project alone- skills that would have taken me years to learn in any other setting. The film, at its core; is about connection and how easy it is to lose it if we start taking things for granted in life. I liked the idea that even the moon herself could tire of being taken for granted and head off on a holiday only for one child to notice it missing and go on a voyage to let it know how much it is loved and respected.”
– Fiona (Video Director)
“One of the most beautiful records I have ever been privileged to be a part of, filled to the very brim with moment after moment of poetic clarity, and not a moment too late…an interior force to be reckoned with. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. It weaves elements of the past around a future I was wholly unaware of before hearing these breath-taking songs, each one a kind of memorial to a memory that may or may not have merely been imagined or hoped into existence.”
In Scots natural phenomenaare often given beautiful phrasing – the ‘Merry Dancers’ of the song being the term for the Aurora Borealis. The song speaks to the things in life we miss in the bustle and stresses of modern living. In writing the song, McAll was thinking of a particular episode where friends missed the real Merry Dancers above their cottage whilst they were indoors watching a documentary about them. The band’s debut album Neither is, nor ever was was borne out of a respect for change, and the inevitable passing of time that frightens, comforts and humbles every one of us. It is a haunting testimonial to the temporary joys and fleeting moments that define the human experience. Co-produced by Scottish singer-songwriter Stephen McAll and renowned producer and Shimmy- Disc founder Kramer (Low, Galaxie 500, Will Oldham), the recording for Neither Is, Nor Ever Was began in early 2020 at La Chunky studios in Glasgow with engineer Johnny Smillie.
This was interrupted by the birth of McAll’s daughter (if you listen closely, her cries are just audible during some of Kessi’s backing vocals on ‘Little Marble’), and shortly afterwards by Covid 19 restrictions. McAll began recording the rest at his own CFFC studio in Stirling. The resulting recordings were then mixed and mastered by Kramer at his Noise Miami Studio, to breathtaking effect. Each album track is accompanied by its own short film.
McAll sought-out the most exciting new talents in Scottish film and animation and invited them to be part of the album project. Each video, the artist’s personal response to the song, with no direction or interference from the band, resulting in incredibly moving and enchanting short ‘films’ in their own right (with multiple film festival considerations including Edinburgh International Film Festival and Manchester Film Festival in process).
Ever since the Scottish “soaring-ambient-dreampop-experimental-folk” band began releasing music more than three years ago, Constant Follower’s emotionally honest and pain-stricken, yet warm, lyrics have become one of the project’s most endearing and beloved qualities. The name of the outfit itself is a reflection of those things that we carry through life, for better or worse, that ultimately define who we are. Described by Folk Radio as “instantly compelling, memorable and moving,” Constant Follower have already been championed by the likes of BBC 6 Music’s Gideon Coe and BBC Scotland’s Vic Galloway.
As a teenager, McAll woke in hospital to find he had survived an attack by a gang that left him with a catastrophic head injury and every memory of his childhood gone. The next decade was spent in a cabin on the West Coast where Hebridean air was whipped in with the time to reflect and recover, eventually allowing him to begin songwriting again. The songs were originally recorded as raw ideas – thoughts and feelings forged in fleeting moments and recorded onto old cassettes as the wind howled outside. The result is a childhood imagined against a backdrop that, like the sea, is as serene as it is wild; ever-changing, yet resolute. Constant Follower have an unbridled gift for tapping into the thoughts and feelings that permeate the human experience, no matter what walk of life this takes.